4800 Fields Ertel Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45249
While northern Cincinnati’s suburbs have changed drastically over the past 25 years, Grand Oriental has remained a mainstay on Fields Ertel Road. Since 1988, this upscale Chinese restaurant has served not only popular traditional Americanized Chinese food, but a more traditional Cantonese tradition called “dim sum,” where small dishes of different traditional foods are served in steamer baskets, with servers bringing many different kinds of these dishes around the restaurant and diners pick out what they like. It’s not common to find this kind of dining around Ohio, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Some of my favorite dishes on the regular menu:
- Egg foo young: This omelette-like dish comes with a buttery sauce and plenty of bean sprouts and meats mixed in. The sauce is great, there’s a lot going on in this dish.
- Mongolian beef: Beef with stir-fried vegetables in a sweet sauce. I’m a huge fan of this dish in part because the veggies are grilled but still crispy. The beef is tender and the sauce brings it together. Definitely cooked with a deft hand.
- General Tso’s Chicken: The chicken is breaded and served in a sweet sauce. A bit heavy on green onion, but the sweet sauce and the crunch go together perfectly.
- Fried noodles: Crispy fried Chinese noodles with meat and stir fried veggies. A good dish for a few people to split. Beef is the best option, but the house noodles are also good.
But what’s really worth trying is the Dim Sum, available Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Carts full of small dishes are pushed around, with these treats:
- Cha siu bao: One of the dim sum dishes that is by far the best here. It’s a roll with soft dough filled with a special pork. The soft dough works perfectly in a sweet and sour sauce. A unique dish.
- Sesame balls: Another dim sum dish, these rolls are filled with a sweet red bean paste and then fried and covered in sesame balls. It’s a bit sweet, just like a dessert.
- Nian gao: A traditional Chinese New Year cake made with glutinous rice, so it has a thick, sticky texture. Tasting this is a cultural experiment meant to mean good luck!
- Congee: A Chinese gruel-like dish made from cooked rice, the special thing on this porridge is the “Thousand-year egg,” which is a fermented duck egg with a strong salty flavor. Great to try a bowl of this as something unfamiliar.
- Stuffed eggplant: A Chinese dish of roasted eggplant, these are filled with a nice pork and topped with a delicious dark sauce. Interesting dim sum dish!
- Egg tart: A Chinese dim sum desert, the egg custard is delicious and sweet; sweeter than most dim sum dishes. But it’s also a nice, small thing to end the meal.
The most impressive thing here is the technique of the dishes. The veggies are grilled without wilting or softening, in fact they’re really crisp.
The service as Grand Oriental is pretty good too, the same experienced hand that is creating such good dishes is guiding a staff that seems able to manage a lot of people well. And indeed, the demographic at this restaurant was in fact a bit older and heavily focused on families and large groups. I have to say, it’s clear that plenty of people come here regularly, no doubt impressed by the food.
All told, the spot has been in business for so long because consistently, it continues to deliver again on food and good service. Taken altogether, all my experiences at this place have been very strong. I highly recommend the spot.
- Dim sum, the feast of small traditional dishes that will bring you a lot of dishes you can’t try in many other spots, happens Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Curbside and catering service is also available!
- I am a huge fan of the main entrees too, especially the Mongolian Beef and the General Tso’s Chicken.